Major UK organisations have been working against Conversion Therapy for a number of years, publishing a Memorandum of Understanding against the practice (2015) and updating the document to warn against conversion therapy in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation (including asexuality).
Aware of concerns regarding the future of Conversion Therapy in the USA, and pleased that Malta has banned the practice and that Taiwan has drafted legislation to ban the practice, we are publicising the following statement in solidarity with like- minded healthcare organisations in the USA.
“We the undersigned UK organisations wish to state that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world. It is unethical and harmful and not supported by evidence.
Conversion Therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others, and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.
Sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders, although exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses. Anyone accessing therapeutic help should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of being pressured to change a fundamental aspect of who they are.”
Peter Kinderman, President of the British Psychological Society, said:
“The British Psychological Society is very proud to endorse, support, and stand by this statement. I am proud to live in a country that is able to celebrate the full range of loving human relationships and to offer each one of us equality under the law. Many of us have experienced a great deal of persecution and discrimination as a result of our sexual orientation, and our role must be to combat such prejudice, not to add to it.
When people are distressed, for whatever reason, we have a duty to reach out and help. But that must not entail regarding our sexual orientation and gender idenitity as any form of pathology. I am very happy to be a party to this statement, and I hope it goes some way to contribution to a more caring and equitable society.”
Janet Weisz, Chair of the Memorandum of Understanding group, and Chief Executive of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, said:
“We have always been clear that sexual orientation and gender identities are not mental health disorders. Any therapy that claims to change these is not only unethical but it’s also potentially harmful.
“Therefore, this practice has no place in the modern psychotherapy profession. The public must know that they can access therapeutic help without fear of judgment.
“It is great to see so many parts of the psychological and medical profession both in the UK and abroad uniting on this key issue."
The statement is supported by groups including: The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, The British Psychoanalytic Council, The British Psychological Society, The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists, GLADD – The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists, The National Counselling Society, National Health Service Scotland, Pink Therapy, The Royal College of General Practitioners, The Scottish Government, Stonewall, and The UK Council for Psychotherapy.